Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Those who are rich shouldn’t decide who is middle-class

with 2 comments

Outside of New York City, Washington, San Francisco and a few other places, how rich is rich?

This article points out the obvious: in really large cities, x number of dollars doesn’t go as far.

What we have in this country is the opposite of an inferiority complex. We all want to be middle-class, whether that means $35,000 a year or $240,000 a year.

People who make $35,000 a year know that $240,000 wage earners are rich, not middle-class. Unfortunately, the ones who seem to get to decide how rich the rich are are the rich.

The upper echelon — 2.5% of Americans are couples who annually earn more than $250,000 and individuals who earn more than $200,000. These are the people the Dems and GOP have been fighting for, not the other 97.5%. Yet, we have identity issues as to what the middle-class is.

Republican politicians don’t consider anyone to be rich enough, even if they make as much as everyone in the Walton (Wal-Mart) family, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett combined.

Democratic politicians fight for the middle class, but their high-end definition is $250,000. They don’t even argue that $250,000 is upper middle-class, just middle-class.

The visible element of the MSM are in really large cities, and probably make lots of money in those really large cities. Their ability to relate to someone who tries to survive on $30,000-$35,000 is almost impossible.

And people in those large cities do survive on $30,000-$35,000, even if they don’t survive nearly as well as the others. So the MSM and the politicians don’t even have to come out of their bubble to learn about those people.

The small percentage of Americans — 2.5% — that make more than $250,000 (couples) and more than $200,000 (individuals) are rich. Anyone individually making $100,000-$200,000 and couples from 140K to 250K are upper middle-class. Individual $70,000-$100,000 salaries and couples up to $140,000 are middle-class. Lower middle-class is for $35,000-$70,000 and for couples $50,000-$140,000. The rest are struggling except for the extreme, which are simply poor.

These numbers were pulled out of my posterior, but even from an objective standpoint, they are much closer to reality than any numbers we see.

But perception is in the eye of the beholder. One gentleman from the Atlanta area — who makes short of $250,000 but wouldn’t be more specific — was quoted in the article. He owns a 6-bedroom house in the Atlanta suburbs. But he said even in these hard times, he “didn’t consider a family making $250,000 a year to be rich.”

“Maybe in the ’70s or ’80s,” he said. “Not now.”

Given that income disparities are as high as ever in our nation’s history, $250,000 is not only rich, but also harder for most Americans to ever obtain, short of the lottery or being able to hit a curveball.

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Written by democracysoup

December 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

2 Responses

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    January 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

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    January 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm


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